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  1. #1

    Scientology: What it is and isn't

    Scientology: What it is and isn't
    Wednesday, June 29, 2005
    By JEFFREY WEISS / The Dallas Morning News

    Adherents say people can cure own ills; critics say church is a cult

    Tom Cruise's high-profile trashing of psychiatry should come as no shocker to anyone familiar with his religion. Scientology's position regarding most of psychiatry is comparable to official Catholic teachings about abortion.

    Scientology says that all psychological ills are a result of a particular kind of psycho-spiritual wound, and that medications and other tools of modern psychiatry, notably electroshock therapy, are useless and harmful.

    What kind of religion sets up a psychological theory as sacred doctrine? A thoroughly modern one. The Church of Scientology – no relation to Christian Science – is barely 50 years old. Founded in America, it stands as a particularly successful new religious movement.

    Just how successful, however, is a matter of dispute. Scientologists count their worldwide numbers in the millions. Many religion sociologists say the real numbers are a tenth as large.

    What can't be argued is that Scientology has some famous adherents: Mr. Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley among them. It's also clear that Mr. Cruise's plugging of War of the Worlds, (which opens Wednesday), not to mention his gushy wooing of actress Katie Holmes, has raised the level of public curiosity about the religion.

    The following are some frequently asked questions and their answers:

    Question: Where did Scientology come from?

    Answer: It's the creation of one man: L. Ron. Hubbard. Best known in the 1940s as a science fiction author, he claimed to have discovered essential truths about human psychology, which he set forth in a 1950 book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. The book, which became the cornerstone of Scientology, was largely dismissed by psychologists.

    Question: What did he say was his big discovery?

    Answer: Mr. Hubbard said all psychological problems, and many physical ones, are caused by unresolved reactions to bad things that have happened to us. In an unconscious process, the "reactive mind" creates a permanent loop that ties up a bit of psychological energy.

    These loops contain a perfect memory of the negative event and can be triggered by confronting seemingly irrelevant details associated with the original event. (If you get hit in the head by a baseball at a game, your reactive mind will also store the aroma of the ballpark hot dogs. Years later, the smell of a hot dog might give you a headache.)

    Mr. Hubbard called those loops "engrams." He claimed that "clearing" the loops would improve psychological and physical health.

    Question: Anything to it?

    Answer: Mainstream psychology dismisses the concept of engrams. But the idea that past psychological stress can later affect health is now widely accepted.

    Question: What was L. Ron Hubbard's background?

    Answer: He wasn't a psychologist or psychiatrist. He was born in Tilden, Neb., in 1911 and served in the Navy during World War II. As a member of the New York Explorers Club, he was credited with participation in several scientific expeditions.

    He was a friend of John Campbell, the editor of Astounding Science Fiction, one of the best-known magazines of the pulp era. Mr. Campbell, who became an enthusiastic advocate for Dianetics, published some of Mr. Hubbard's work in Astounding.

    Mr. Hubbard died in 1986, "having accomplished," according to his official biography, "all he set out to do." He left thousands of pages of writings and hundreds of hours of recorded statements, all of which are considered sacred text by Scientologists.

    Question: What makes Scientology a religion?

    Answer: Mr. Hubbard eventually claimed that engrams were not simply produced in this life, but that everyone carries the residue of billions of years of past lives. All people are said to have a "thetan," something like a soul in other religious traditions.

    Scientology recognizes the existence of an impersonal supreme being, but one very different from the Judeo-Christian God believed to be actively involved in human affairs. Mr. Hubbard formally established the Church of Scientology in 1953.

    The official Scientology Web site, in explaining the faith, says: "Man is an immortal spiritual being. His experience extends well beyond a single lifetime. His capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized. Scientology further holds man to be basically good, and that his spiritual salvation depends upon himself and his fellows and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe."

    Question: Is there anything scientific about Scientology?

    Answer: It is certainly "scientistic" – it uses jargon and gizmos that seem scientific.

    For instance, there's the "e-meter," a sort of low-level lie detector. The person being examined – "audited" is the official term – holds two metal cans connected by a wire to the meter. Stress affects conductivity, so the auditor searches for words or situations that jiggle the needle. Scientologists believe that those jiggles are evidence of engrams.

    Auditors focus on those areas, desensitizing the person through repetition, until the needle no longer jiggles. Scientologists believe that's evidence that the engram has been released. When they're all released, the person is considered "clear."

    Scientologists pay to be audited and for many other classes and training sessions. Some news accounts estimate that Mr. Cruise, a Scientologist for decades, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on his training.

    Question: What's Scientology's beef with psychiatry?

    Answer: Recall Scientology's origin – the claim of a perfect explanation for all psychological ailments. If all it takes to cure someone of these ills is a noninvasive procedure, then drugs and other tools of psychology, including electroshock therapy, just create needless suffering.

    Question: What controversies has the Church of Scientology been involved in?

    Answer: Some former members and others accuse the church of coercing people to join and punishing those who leave. Reporters who wrote critically about Scientology said they've been harassed with lawsuits and subjected to personal attacks.

    There's no argument about the church's litigious history. Supporters say the many suits have been filed in self-defense.

    Several governments have investigated the church on allegations of cult activities.Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Canada, among others, have taken official positions against Scientology. Some of those have been reversed, and the church is trying to overturn other critical rulings.

    Question: Why are so many celebrities Scientologists?

    Answer: It's an optical illusion. In truth, no more than a half-dozen or so celebrities have been publicly associated with Scientology. In addition to Mr. Cruise, Mr. Travolta and Ms. Alley, you have Kelly Preston (Mr. Travolta's wife), Isaac Hayes, Chick Corea, Greta Van Susteren.

    We hear about celebrities following any religious movement because they're celebrities: Buddhism has Richard Gere, Phil Jackson and Tina Turner. Transcendental Meditation had the Beatles. Madonna, Britney Spears and Demi Moore are famously associated with Kabbalah.

  2. #2

    my opinion on scientology

    I wanted to write on this because I disagree with this whole scientology theory and though some aspects may be true the overall point can be very misleading. I actually just picked up a book yesterday called The Cause of Suppression by L .Ron Hubbard looking for new ways to improve life.
    As I read on I became more frustrated and hopeless.
    Basically I read their are two types of people the sane and the insane or "anti-social' in their words.
    Assuming I am along the anti social lines in their words i quote from this book
    "The pity of it is, they will not permit themselves to be helped and would not respond to treatment if help were attempted."
    so their solution being and i quote again "As majority rule is the political manner of the day, so should majority sanity express itself in our daily lives without the interference and distruction of the socially unwell"
    so i should just be locked up or killed cause there is no help for me and i am just destroying the lives of others.
    i regret the ten dollars i spent on this book anyway
    kels23

  3. #3

    Scientology: What it is and isn't

    As I guess you have discovered, these people are misinformed, misguided, and narrow-minded. Their "theories" shouldn't even be called that -- they have no scientific basis whatsoever and unfortunately their writings, public statements, and recommended practices are both silly and dangerous.

  4. #4

    Scientology: What it is and isn't

    i regret the ten dollars i spent on this book anyway
    Return the book for a refund or credit :)
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  5. #5

    Scientology: What it is and isn't

    :o)

    Tell them it was false advertising: "The title said Scientology but it turned out it has nothing to do with science... it's more like Craptology!"

  6. #6

    Scientology a serious threat to the community

    Scientology a "serious threat to the community," study finds
    September 21, 2005

    There are some features of scientology which are so ludicrous that there may be a tendency to regard scientology as silly and its practitioners as harmless cranks. To do so would be gravely to misunderstand the tenor of the Board's conclusions. This Report should be read, it is submitted, with these prefatory observations constantly in mind. Scientology is evil; its techniques evil; its practice a serious threat to the community, medically, morally and socially; and its adherents sadly deluded and often mentally ill.

    (I-Newswire) - Many scientology techniques, beyond the elementary stages, are essentially those of command or authoritative hypnosis, and are potentially dangerous to mental health. Scientology processing or "auditing" is administered by scientology trained "auditors" who have no knowledge or appreciation of, or skill in, orthodox psychiatry or psychology; they are generally unaware of the dangers of the techniques which they practice and are unable to detect in their patients a variety of symptoms which would indicate to a medical practitioner or a trained psychologist mental and physical conditions which may require professional treatment.

    A pseudo-science called "Dianetics", also founded by Hubbard and claimed by him to be "the modern science of mental health", is an important part of scientology and categorically but falsely claims to cure 70 per cent. of man's ailments. Though scientology formally professes not to treat or cure physical or mental ailments, in a covert way it creates the impression that it does, and it frequently processes individuals for the purpose of curing or alleviating their ailments.

    Scientology procedures have done very considerable mental harm to individuals who have been persuaded to undergo processing and training. In many cases, mental derangement and a loss of critical faculties have resulted from scientology processing and have continued long after the individuals concerned have ceased active association with scientology. In a number of instances the direct result of scientology processing has been to produce mental derangement which has required hospital treatment.

    Scientology offers to "make the able more able", to remove "suppression", to improve IQ and personality, to proof people against mental and physical illness and to bestow a variety of other benefits, offering sure success by allegedly infallible means. All these claims are entirely unjustified.

    The principles and practices of scientology are contrary to accepted principles and practices of medicine and science, and constitute a grave danger to the health, particularly the mental health, of the community. Expert opinion to this effect was fully confirmed by the considerable number of specific cases of damage to mental health of which the Board heard evidence.

    Scientology has highly undesirable processes, many of which are hypnotic, wherein normal inhibitions and restraints are in abeyance. Sexual matters, normal and abnormal, are frequently dwelt upon extensively and erotically.

    Scientology is not, and does not claim to be, a religion. The general attitude of its founder is hostile to and disparaging of religion.

    Scientology is a grave threat to family and home life. As well as causing financial hardship, it engenders dissension, suspicion and mistrust amongst members of the family. Scientology has caused many family estrangements.

    The Board has been unable to find any worth-while redeeming feature in scientology. It constitutes a serious medical, moral and social threat to individuals and to the community generally.

    http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Cowen/audit/andrhome.html

  7. #7

    Scientology: What it is and isn't

    Heh. Here's a site for a long, but interesting, read about L. Ron Hubbard. He was not what the "Church of Scientology" has claimed him to have been. I found it a fascinating read:

    http://www.clambake.org/archive/books/bfm/bfmconte.htm

  8. #8

    Scientology: What it is and isn't

    Interesting reading, ThatLady:

    Similarly, Polly, in Bremerton, had yet to learn her husband [Hubbard] was a bigamist.
    http://www.clambake.org/archive/books/bfm/bfm07.htm

    Dianetics makes its inauspicious début in the pages of a pulp science fiction magazine.
    http://www.clambake.org/archive/books/bfm/bfm09.htm

    "Before the case I made sure [sic] they knew what a bastard this guy Hubbard was," said Warner. "I told them he was a sadist, that he'd kept his wife awake for days and burned her with cigarettes and that he was crazy, crazy like a fox. They could hardly wait for me to file the complaint."
    http://www.clambake.org/archive/books/bfm/bfm10.htm

    Hubbard believed he was a reincarnation of Cecil Rhodes and liked to sport the kind of hat worn by the founder of Rhodesia.
    http://www.clambake.org/archive/books/bfm/bfm15.htm
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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